6 Foods That Can Help Reduce Stress Levels

6 Foods That Can Help Reduce Stress Levels

It is impossible to avoid all stressors as you go through life, but it is possible to minimize them. Stress, at times, can heighten your senses and better equip you for the situation at hand. Chronic stress, however, can negatively impact your mental and physical health in several ways, such as increasing your risk of anxiety, depression, and even heart disease. 

Believe it or not, the foods you eat have a powerful influence on your mental health. According to many studies, prioritizing foods with certain nutrients can help improve your mood and may even reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. If you regularly battle with feelings of stress and need help regulating levels, focus on the following nutritious and stress-reducing foods


Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, berries should be a mainstay in everyone’s diet. They contain essential vitamins and minerals, some of which are involved with mood regulation, stress response, and cognitive function. One study from 2022 monitored the mental health of participants in relation to their fruit intake. Compared to those with the lowest fruit intake, the participants with the highest fruit intake had 16%, 25%, and 27% lower odds for lack of joy, worries, and tension, respectively. Diets rich in berries have also been linked to higher levels of optimism

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are loaded with stress-reducing plant compounds, including carotenoids, magnesium, and vitamin C. Great examples of these vegetables include Swiss chard, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, arugula, romaine lettuce, and Brussels sprouts. Many dark, leafy greens contain magnesium, which plays an integral role in the body’s stress response. Insufficient amounts of magnesium in the body can impact your ability to deal with stress. Stress can actually increase magnesium loss via urine, which increases the risk of magnesium deficiency. Eating more magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, can increase magnesium levels and may help reduce stress


Speaking of magnesium, avocados are also great sources. They also contain a lot of fiber, which works to decrease inflammation in the body, which may help lower stress levels. According to research, people under high stress have exhibited higher levels of inflammatory markers. Eating more fiber-rich foods may help reduce inflammation in the body, which may alleviate stress. A 2021 study of over 3,000 people found that eating more fiber reduced the risk of psychological distress and anxiety. A seven-ounce avocado contains 13.5 grams of fiber, which fulfills 48% of the recommended daily intake (RDI).


Matcha lattes have surged to popularity within recent years, but let’s just leave the milk out of the equation for a moment. This powdered green tea contains a lot of mood-boosting and stress-regulating properties. Researchers note that the L-theanine in matcha has anti-anxiety and stress-reducing effects. L-theanine is an amino acid that acts on the central nervous system, influencing receptors in the brain to help reduce stress and anxiety symptoms. For example, L-theanine works to reduce the release of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, which increases the release of GABA. A 2019 study found that participants who consumed cookies containing 4.5 grams of matcha per day for 15 days had significant reductions in the activity of certain stress markers. 

Apples, Pears, And Citrus Fruits

Not every fruit helps to regulate stress levels, but a 2022 study found that increasing intake of bananas, oranges and other citrus fruits, apples, and pears contributed to lower stress levels. In fact, each of those fruits lowered the risk of having high perceived stress. Researchers suggest that the high concentration of minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals found in those fruits contribute to the stress-reducing properties. More research is necessary on this matter.

Hemp Seeds

Similar to avocados and leafy greens, hemp seeds are rich in magnesium, with a three-tablespoon serving covering 50% of the RDI of magnesium. Hemp seeds also provide omega-3 fatty acids and zinc, another nutrient involved in stress response. Low zinc levels can affect your mood and have been linked to anxiety symptoms. Zinc may reduce anxiety and stress by acting on GABA and glutamate, among other neurotransmitters. Low levels of GABA and glutamate may result from low zinc levels, all of which worsen anxiety. A 2023 review of nine studies found that people with anxiety exhibited lower levels of zinc in their blood compared to people without anxiety.



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